The Diver and the Pool

To view a work of art is akin to approaching a diving board with the intention of jumping in the pool below. But the work of art is not deep water to be dived into, it is not a pool, although they have a relationship. The work of art is rather the diving platform. Like that tall and ominous structure, it can be intimidating. Approaching the tower, you are right to have caution. Your life is at stake. You’re relying on engineers and masons. Masters and journeymen of material, who even if one of them had a bad day—you approach anyway.

The height the diver chooses often corresponds to the depth of looking they intend to do, or the depth of criticism they intend to undertake, because if they decide to go a step further into the engagement, multiple heights are always present. I say looking, because art is primarily ocular centric, aware of this, when I say looking understand that I mean all of the senses working together as a total eye, a kind of holistic-foveal- perception.

Officially, the competitive diving tower generally has three platforms of varying heights: 16, 25 and 33 feet, all of which extend over the pool. As she reaches the base of the platform a few things must be considered. What type of dive will she undertake, what type of dive is possible for this pool? Well, there are always many types of dives. But they must always correspond to the pool. One can dive from the side of the pool, run and jump in cannon ball style, or belly-flop. A higher, more difficult dive requires a deeper pool—you wouldn’t want to hit your head on the pool floor, nor do you want to dive into a turbid pool or do anything other than put your feet in a wading pool, because the depth of the pool determines everything. A diving board in front of a shallow, empty or decommissioned pool, prohibits the dive.

How high is the platform, is it built before a shallow pool, or built before a deep pool? How will that iridescent film of SPF 50 sunblock left by melanin deficient divers floating on the surface of the water effect this diver’s entry into the pool below? What if the last diver, or the children at the shallow end pissed in the pool?

Oftentimes the place for the highest level of competitive diving is in the Olympics. In that arena, the work of art is the diving board or diving platform. This is the jumping off point she will use, hurling herself into the abyss below, all the while pointing back towards the diving platform in her many articulations.

Regardless of the platform’s construction, she ascents anyway, deciding to dive from the top. After all this is the Olympics and for the diver, it’s about her performance from the diving tower, not the construction of the diving tower—so long as its soundly engineered. To be clear, in the visual arts, it’s always about the work of art and the composition of the society, which are both made clear from the dive.

The diver is unable to perform a dive if she lacks experience of the pool having not warmed up with other swimmers. Thus, after warming, she walks around the entire length of the pool and then, when its her turn, ascends the diving platform, thus beginning the first act of looking—the assent. Assent is the official agreement or sanctioning of the work of art to work on her and to work her; assenteri, (Italian) to feel and think toward the art in sensitivity. The primary problem encountered when engaging with art, is a failure to engage, the failure to assent to the work. Too many viewers have the idea that they will wrap their mind around a work of art, when what they truly need to do is to allow the art to be wrapped around their mind. Climb and dive. They only way to penetrate a work of art, to assess its merits, is to allow it to encompass your being and penetrate you. To be enraptured by its funk and sweat of concrete intellect/material labor.

You must give consent for that part of your being which you hold most dear, the sacred part that looks into the eyes of dogs for affirmation or warmth, that; you must give consent for that, which won’t consent, would never consent, would never willingly allow itself to enter into arrangement wherein it will be touched, molested, have its interior composition ravaged by the shadowy hand of art. The hidden treasure of art’s liberal exterior conceals its fascistic transgressive spirit. Its mode of communication scatters those pneumatic waters of your interior, it revels in accounting the infinite points on the pneumatic sine wave vibrating off into to infinity. Each fissure in your being produces ripples in the pneumatic fluid of your fractured vessel. That touch of art siphons what was once limpid by this touch, by this work. To be touched by the work is to be seduced and know it, to assent. To assent is to answer the call, to open the door and hand over the resident adolescent with all of their raw perceptive faculties to that, which is calling— to consent for them, an intercourse with the work. All intercourse leaves the contents of the vessel colored. She dives. The pool receives the diver, as the diving tower enables the dive into the pool, an opportunity to re-enter the pool anew, and the depth of the pool determines everything, A diving board in front of a shallow, empty or decommissioned pool, prohibits the dive.